Atmospheric tides in Gale Crater, Mars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

  • REMS Science Team
  • MSL Science Team

Research units

  • Ashima Research
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  • Texas A and M University
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute
  • Universities Space Research Association
  • California Institute of Technology

Abstract

Atmospheric tides are the primary source of daily air pressure variation at the surface of Mars. These tides are forced by solar heating of the atmosphere and modulated by the presence of atmospheric dust, topography, and surface albedo and thermal inertia. This results in a complex mix of sun-synchronous and non-sun-synchronous tides propagating both eastward and westward around the planet in periods that are integer fractions of a solar day. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station on board the Mars Science Laboratory has observed air pressure at a regular cadence for over 1. Mars. year and here we analyze and diagnose atmospheric tides in this pressure record. The diurnal tide amplitude varies from 26 to 63. Pa with an average phase of 0424 local true solar time, while the semidiurnal tide amplitude varies from 5 to 20. Pa with an average phase of 0929. We find that both the diurnal and semidiurnal tides in Gale Crater are highly correlated to atmospheric opacity variations at a value of 0.9 and to each other at a value of 0.77, with some key exceptions occurring during regional and local dust storms. We supplement our analysis with MarsWRF general circulation modeling to examine how a local dust storm impacts the diurnal tide in its vicinity. We find that both the diurnal tide amplitude enhancement and regional coverage of notable amplitude enhancement linearly scales with the size of the local dust storm. Our results provide the first long-term record of surface pressure tides near the martian equator.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalIcarus
Volume268
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Atmospheres, dynamics, Mars, atmosphere, Meteorology

ID: 1707670